Interaction of glucocorticoid receptor-steroid complexes with acceptor sites.
The binding of the "activated" receptor-glucocorticoid complexes of cultured rathepatoma cells to nuclei, chromatin, and DNA has been studied under cell-free conditions. A critical factor in determining the shape of the binding curve is shown to be an inhibitory material which is present in crude cytosol and which can be removed without destroying the receptor-steroid complex. These and other results argue that the apparent saturation observed in earlier experiments may have been due to the inhibitors. Thus, the actual number of acceptor sites in hepatoma tissue culture cell nuclei is much larger than previously estimated andtheir affinity for the complex is lower. Nuclear binding experiments indicate that the inhibitory material interacts with the receptor-steroid complex. The inhibitors appear to be macromolecular; but their effects cannot be mimicked by albumin or hemoglobin. The acceptor capacity at low ionic strength for binding receptor-glucocorticoid complexes increases when proceeding from nuclei to DNA. An analysis of the kinetics of association and dissociation and of the relative binding behavior of nuclei and DNA argues that the affinity of complex for nuclei is much greater than for DNA. DNA-associated histones reduce the amount of complex that binds to DNA. These and perhaps other chromosomal proteins may be responsible for the ordering of acceptor capacity. Evidence is presented that the difference in affinities of nuclear and DNA acceptors could also be due to chromosomal proteins. In nuclei, these proteins may thus both reduce the amount of complex binding by rendering regions of DNA less accessible and increase the binding affinity of some, or all, of those DNA binding sites which remain exposed.